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Girl Group Greats - 2001-05-16

Remember those great all-girl pop groups of the 1960s? Over a span of five years, girl groups dominated the pop and R&B charts, from the little-known high school trio The Jaynetts to international superstars The Supremes. A new CD called "Girl Group Greats" features the best of these starlets from the past.

Today's girl groups like Destiny's Child owe much of their success to their groundbreaking predecessors. From "Girl Group Greats," The Marvelettes with "Please Mr. Postman," featuring Marvin Gaye on drums. Motown's first-ever Number One single was such a big hit The Beatles later did their own "boy band" version.

The girl group phenomenon began in 1960, when The Shirelle's went all the way to Number One with a Gerry Goffin-Carole King hit. Carole King and husband Gerry Goffin hoped Johnny Mathis would record "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," but decided it was in better hands with four New Jersey teenagers known as The Shirelles.

When songwriter Ronnie Mack heard The Chiffons perform in their high school cafeteria, he wrote "He's So Fine" for the group and recorded a demo of it for Laurie Records. The label released it as a single and it became a Number One hit for four weeks in 1963. The Chiffons' daring doo-wop flavored pop tune opened the door for other rebels of the girl group movement.

The Angels hailed from New Jersey, where they had been working as session singers and musicians. In fact, one of the three Angels was enrolled at the Juilliard School of Music when their biggest hit "My Boyfriend's Back" climbed to Number One in August 1963. Writer Bob Feldman says the idea for the song came from a conversation he overheard in a Brooklyn, New York coffee shop.

Probably the best-known of all girl groups, The Supremes became the queens of Motown Records, scoring 12 Number One hits between 1964 and 1969.

Although the most famous of the teen girl performers of the '60s were The Supremes, Martha and The Vandellas and Leslie Gore, audiences were also drawn to the newer voices of The Exciters, The Toys, The Cookies, Little Eva and Claudine Clark.

One of the most obscure voices on Rhino Records' new compilation "Girl Group Greats" belongs to singer Joanie Sommers whose only Top 40 hit was this 1962 hit "Johnny Get Angry."